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Two From The Valley

April 1, 2012

The other evening I slipped down the valley for a late stroll beside the Weaver.  All was calm and still – the cooling air, the woodland, even the river itself, multi-coloured in the last rays of the sun, rippled only by fish snatching flies from the surface.  No one was about save the occasional jogger or dog-walker, and the sharp kowk-kowk of coots served only to emphasise the hush.  Galvanised steel kissing-gates squeaked and clanged as I passed through them.

The sun had sunk beyond Vale Royal Abbey as I came up the fields, and it was then I had the weirdest experience.  Three geese came at me low and fast out of the darkness, necks outstretched, honking, and passed so close I felt the waft of their wings as they veered away over the lock-gates below.

It was something to cogitate on as I sat in the dentist’s chair next morning!  And it’s surprising the connections you make with sharp instruments in your mouth…

I recalled a remark made to me by an elderly dog-walker on the riverbank back in ’89 apropos anglers after bream: “Some those men are on nights an’ it does ‘em good, the fresh air, dunnit?  Aye, ye canna beat Lord’s fresh air.”  Which led me to a pair of loosely linked poems from the past, the first written shortly following the old boy’s remark, the second seven years later.

Rejection slips (and their email equivalent) I tend to shrug off nowadays.  And the company of poets I enjoy…

 

“WE REGRET THAT ON THIS OCCASION…”

 

A wisp of shag tobacco, perhaps,

A balloon adrift in the valley,

Self-esteem a snapped mooring –

 

So the willowed water’s edge I wonder,

Sun glaring from plankton depths,

Brain percolating,

Florescent fungus twitching with broom.

 

Humble I connect;

Proud and the poetry eludes me,

A wisp of shag tobacco, perhaps…

 

“Thank you for your interest.”

 

 

A FUNNY THING

 

When I’m with poets

I feel uncomfortable and different;

When not in their company

I know I am one.

 

Sipping white wine at a reading

I worry about an overdue report;

Photocopying dry text I’m turned on

By the slip-slap rhythm of the machine,

By a steaming copse across the valley,

By the pulse of words in my head.

 

-oOo-

 

© Copyright Paul Beech 2012

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